AR Device Management in the Spotlight, TeamViewer and RealWear Partner to Deliver Embedded AR Remote Support

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By Eric Abbruzzese | 3Q 2022 | IN-6663

RealWear’s recent RealWear Cloud product rollout was combined with a major partnership with remote connectivity player TeamViewer. TeamViewer remote access software is embedded in RealWear Cloud, enhancing device management capabilities to more closely resemble traditional enterprise device support. This announcement is not revolutionary; however, it does indicate a level of maturity for at least RealWear’s Augmented Reality (AR) Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs), if not the broader technology and use cases.

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Cloud Meets Cloud Management


As the next step in shifting from a hardware company to a full platform provider, RealWear launched its RealWear Cloud platform in early August 2022. Not long after, a partnership between RealWear and TeamViewer was announced, with TeamViewer’s remote connectivity capabilities bundled in RealWear Cloud. This enables cloud-based device management for RealWear AR HMDs. With integration and enabling scale necessary elements of enterprise Augmented Reality (AR) going forward, cohesive device management as part of a hardware solution is a compelling differentiator.

Ensuring Value after Deployment


There are two impactful elements at play in this partnership: cloud platforms and device management. Individually, these are critical for enterprise AR and have already seen traction across the industry. Many platform vendors have been moving toward cloud-native and/or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models for platforms. RealWear is unique in that the company started as a hardware vendor and has moved into an end-to-end platform player, but the thinking behind the transition and the ultimate portfolio balance is the same.

RealWear Cloud replaces Foresight and has two feature tiers. A free basic tier includes device management, application management and deployment, and some basic device usage analytics. A paid pro tier adds on deeper analytics, firmware management, cloud troubleshooting, remote device lock and wipe, and data export. TeamViewer’s role in this is through RealWear Cloud Assistance, which uses TeamViewer’s software product for device management to perform setup, configuration, deployment, and analysis. TeamViewer is a leader in the enterprise AR space outside of just this role in RealWear Cloud. The company also enables remote assistance, training, step-by-step instruction, and more in a number of enterprise verticals, and has successfully invested, acquired, and developed a product to become a top enterprise AR competitor.

The positive impacts of AR are well understood—travel and downtime reduction, improved collaboration, etc.—but the potential limitations after deployment are less known. While the rate of adoption has been impressive in the enterprise sector, there have been few large-scale AR device deployments that rival that of smartphones, tablets, or other wearables. Traditionally, AR glasses are either treated as an “over-the-top” implementation with support and management separate from existing systems, or they are integrated with existing systems, but treated more like a smartphone than a specialized AR device.

Poor device management options sacrifice some flexibility in deployment, as well as potentially opening up security issues through lacking updates and/or support. Waiting for an update during mission-critical maintenance significantly negates the potential positive impact of using AR in the first place.  On the other hand, a strong device management platform can extract the maximum value from a device, which is especially important with AR devices. Employee churn rates regarding AR devices need to be avoided, especially when considering the comparatively high cost for the hardware versus existing devices. Users need to be convinced of the value of an AR device and how it integrates into their workflow, and streamlined device management can help enable that. Devices working as intended limits negative experiences, while also ensuring maximum Return on Investment (ROI) for the company. This can help ensure that content is where it needs to be, when it needs to be, and updated appropriately for the next use.

Device Management's Increasing Importance


Expect similar announcements going forward as a result, especially as new devices come on the scene. Any hardware players that want to compete in the enterprise space should identify device management needs, what is supported in-house, and what partners should be targeted to fill in gaps. Devices with unique input or data capture capabilities, such as eye tracking and gesture control, can necessitate specific management platform support. A solution that does not recognize these data sources will hamper deployment by default, leaving secondary value through unique and powerful analytics on the table.

Analytics is a significant value add for management services and cloud platforms. AR has the potential to enable both quantity and quality data at the user level. Standard device analytics like usage time is becoming commonplace, but there is huge potential in better capturing and leveraging other data, including location, success/failure and first-time fix rates, heatmaps, error rates, user sentiment, etc. AR HMDs present a unique user-level data capture solution that can both help workers and feed data to enable future worker and system improvements.

As new devices hit the market, these partnerships will become even more critical. Consumer-targeted devices will see significant adoption in the enterprise space, and they will not necessarily work with existing device management solutions, nor will there be management options from the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) (at least at first). It is unlikely that consumer OEMs will build in device management capabilities, as it’s not a consumer market necessity, but third-party device management solutions can still work to support and/or partner with these consumer devices/OEMs. Even enterprise devices will vary in Operating System (OS) (either different versions/update levels, or complete OS differences), connectivity (Wi-Fi, cellular), content capabilities (e.g., mixed reality), input methods (gesture, eye tracking, voice), and target use cases.

Device management is not as hype-worthy as a new AR device, but it is incredibly important and indicative of a maturing market. When deployments are small scale—say 50 to 100 units and under—these variables are less pronounced and can be dealt with ad-hoc with decent success. However, as deployments scale up, this variability is exacerbated and a company’s fleet of devices can quickly grow unruly. Customers will become increasingly concerned with device management, which indicates they are confident in the technology and are looking toward the future and operating these devices at scale—something that has not been the case even with significant AR hype of the past.